Back when I worked in the military and in law enforcement, we talked about “mission creep.” You’ve got a job to do, and slowly, but surely, people keep adding on to your job until you’re so swamped with ancillary stuff, you can hardly get your real job done. You forget what you’re supposed to be doing.
We have had a similar experience in my house, except the creep came with video games. It started out simple… some Wii Sports, Lego Star Wars, and some other fairly innocent games, in limited amounts, only on certain days. Somehow, over the course of the year, my son has moved all the way in to playing games like “Thief,” “Call of Duty,” and “Titan Fall.” Totally, completely inappropriate for an eight year old, yet, it happened, under my watch.
It all came to a big, ugly head this weekend, resulting in a total RESET. In fact, we had to swing so far that the child lost ALL gaming privileges for an entire month, and when we “reset” after that, we’ll be back at games appropriate for an eight year old, not an eighteen year old.
It’s been building up for awhile. I take a lot of the blame. In my business over finishing and publishing our book: Lose the Cape: Realities from the Busy Modern Mom and Strategies to Survive (yes, I see the irony – my cape has been gone a long time!) – things may have gotten a little “looser” around our house. Including supervision over the games.
Little by little, I’ve noticed behavioral issues. A total disrespect for other people’s property, an unwillingness to follow directions, and a severe increase in the child’s ADHD symptoms, even with medication. This weekend, the proverbial straw broke that camel’s back.
First, Friday evening as I stood enjoying the nice evening while the kids swung on the swing set, I heard Bug say to his five year old sister Jelly Bean, “I’m gonna cut your face off and then I’m gonna kill you.”
The record player screeched to a stop.
I could not believe what I was hearing. His response: “Jelly Bean tells me she’s going to kill me!”
Well who do you think they learned it from?? I’m fairly certain Daniel the Tiger and The Backyardigans did not teach them this.
So, my husband and I agreed – the games had to stop. We dealt with this and moved on.
Oh but the fun didn’t stop there. My son and his cousin, while enacting their own neighborhood version of Call of Duty, DREW out their WAR PLANS in chalk on the side of the neighbor’s brick house. (I’m seeing red again!) So, after Jelly Bean’s dance recital, the boys got to scrub the side of the house, with a very able supervisor.
And as if that wasn’t enough…
well, suffice it to say, there was a whole lot of misuse and disrespect of daddy’s tools and stuff in the garage, that sent daddy over the edge. Total reset was put in motion.
No gaming for a month – no toys or friends – indef.
Today we play.
Like an eight year old should.
Outside. No electronics.
Have you ever had a moment in child rearing where you just realized you have messed up and need to reset?